James Delingpole

I have the right to raise my monsters as I wish

And if as a result they have a sick sense of humour and a seething contempt for authority, then all well and good

14 March 2015

9:00 AM

14 March 2015

9:00 AM

I was on the phone to Girl, thinking of something interesting to tell her. ‘Oh yeah,’ I said. ‘And this afternoon I’m taking Daisy to the vet to get her put down.’

‘Why?’ said Girl.

‘Oh, you know. She’s two years old now, so she’s had a pretty good innings. Plus her fur’s got really dirty and rather than clean her I thought it would be cheaper to get a new dog. You’re not upset, are you?’


‘Good, that’s what I was hoping. See, I read somewhere that the best time to kill your pet is when your kids are away at school. That way they don’t notice for ages and it’s much more caring, apparently.’

Afterwards, Girl told me that she’d been playing the conversation on speakerphone to her horrified friends. They all now think I’m a sadistic evil dog murderer.

Are there any other dads out there who are as puerile, embarrassing and irresponsible as I am? I do hope so because I believe it’s our primary purpose. Mum takes care of all the basic stuff: discipline, feeding, grooming, nurturing, washing, organising, moral guidance. Dad’s there for the vital finishing touches, such as ice training. Ice training is what we used to do in Dulwich Park when the ponds froze over and the officious sign appeared on the wooden bridge saying it was too slippery to walk on. So first I’d take the kids onto the bridge to defy the sign. Then I’d lead the kids out on to the ice to annoy the other park users. It was rarely long before some finger-wagging busybody would stop to lecture me on my appalling recklessness. At that point, my work was done.

It’s for similar reasons that my current greatest ambition is to take Girl foxhunting (which with luck we’ll do next season, when I’m researching my new book project Mister Delingpole’s Sporting Tour).

Sure I’m keen for her to experience the thrill and camaraderie of the chase, and to swoon at how gorgeous she looks in a ratcatcher (as all girls do). But the broader purpose of the exercise is to teach her a vital life lesson: that the world is full of censorious health-and-safety-obsessed puritanical types who want to force us to play by their rules — and what we say to them is ‘Two fingers!’

Does all this make me a bad parent? If you consulted an expert — say Joyce Thacker, former strategic director of Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham council — I suspect they’d tell you it did. And I dare say it would be the same in Scotland where, as from next month, under the new Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, every child up to the age of 18 is now to be allocated a ‘named person’ whose job it will be to supervise their ‘well-being’ by ensuring that they are safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included.

Though all those goals sound fine in principle, I rather fear that in practice a lot would depend on the ‘named person’s’ particular interpretation of them. This interpretation, I’m guessing, would be very much the Common Purpose position, in which all social worker types are fully indoctrinated, where great value is placed on nebulous concepts like fairness, equality, diversity, social justice, sustainability and so on, but not a great deal on freedom or contra mundum individualism. Indeed, as far as most agencies of the state would be concerned, parents like me are very much the enemy.

This is what I think H.G. Wells may have been getting at in his rambling 1906 paper which he read to the Fabian Society under the title ‘Socialism And The Middle Classes’. ‘Socialism, in fact, is the State family. The old family of the private individual must vanish before it, just as the old water works of private enterprise, or the old gas company. They are incompatible with it. Socialism assails the triumphant egotism of the family today just as Christianity did in its earlier and more vital centuries.’

For socialism see also fascism, communism, Islamism: it is in the nature of all totalitarian doctrines to want to detach children from their unhealthy familial bonds and indoctrinate them in the ways of communitarian righteousness. Hence the Young Pioneers, and the Hitler Youth and all those earnest young Red Guards enthusiastically shopping their capitalist running-dog lackey parents to the authorities. Hence, also, of course, Joyce Thacker’s refusal when she still had her job at Rotherham to allow that Ukip-voting couple to foster. An affiliation to a party that professes to reject the values of the socialistic state, clearly, is far more dangerous to a child than, say, exposing them to the risk of being groomed and raped by gangs of Pakistani/Kashmiri taxi drivers.

My own view is that parents almost invariably know better what’s good for their children than any outside agency does; and that however badly they may fuck them up, as Larkin would have it, their kids are still unlikely to end up anywhere near as screwed up as they would be if entrusted to the tender cares of the state.

When I study my offspring and survey the damage I have wrought on their fragile psyches — the sick, bleak sense of humour they have acquired, their seething contempt for authority, their addiction to provocation — I feel nothing but pride at my achievement. Yes, on occasion they may be monsters. But at least, thank God, they are my monsters.

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  • HorseBishop

    absolutely spot-on. my 21 month old daughter is already able to pull our legs and is exhibiting a benign yet dogged mischievousness. Long may it continue.

    • Jody Taylor

      Yeah, just as long as other people can suffer the little termite’s endless parades of “all about me” and concomittant noise and showing off. It ISN’T pretty.

      Discipline your children so others won’t despise them, is my piece of advice.

      • HorseBishop

        are you feeling alright? maybe you should restrict your posts to when your brain chemicals are back on-line.

      • Frank Marker

        Ha ha! Coming to a beer garden near you soon.

  • JonBW

    The point you miss, though, is the timeless law that most of us rebel against our parents and their values.

    If you want your son to grow up into an atheist, make him attend Sunday School; if you want him to be Christian, keep buying him Richard Dawkins’ books.

    If you want your daughter to join the SWP at the first opportunity, keep telling her that Thatcherism is the only sensible political philosophy; if you want her to grow up a Conservative, enroll her as a Young Socialist as soon as she’s old enough.

    Although actually, if you really want her to rebel and become a conservative, singing the praises of the current Tory party would probably be the most effective way…

    • rtj1211

      I don’t think that’s true per se. What IS true is that if parents have a sense of ‘authority entitlement’, namely expecting to be looked up to, deferred to and ‘admired’ without having earned any of those things, then yes, children will rebel. They are rebelling against their parents’ crass arrogance and poor parenting.

      I’ve not met too many children of superior parents who rebel for the sake of it. Superior parents, you see, expect their children to forge their own way in life and are relaxed about them wanting to do the same thing or different things as they did. It’s not important to them to be controlling, it’s important to them to be supportive.

      The fact that so many children rebel against parents is an indication that widespread substandard parenting goes on…….

      • Jody Taylor

        I couldn’t agree more with that last sentence (if I had written it myself)!!

      • Pacificweather

        If you are allowed to do what you want there is nothing to rebel against except being allowed to do what you want. Sometimes a little bit of rebellion would be reassuring that your child wasn’t totally inert or coonformist.

      • Solage 1386

        As children grow older they begin to judge their parents. Sometimes, they forgive them. (…..or words to that effect….Oscar Wilde, I think.)

  • dan

    i wouldnt guarantee they’ll develop a sense of humour, i mean, with enough therapy they’ll laugh at you perhaps?!

    • Jody Taylor

      Germans don’t need therapy, they have an excellent sense of humour. The fact that you neither know nor understand them is of no consequence to them, I assure you.

      And the English sense of humour isn’t all that flash either, IMO. Coarse, common, rough, uncouth, loud, cheap and vulgar much of it is. (Apologies to the few who don’t fit this mould.)

      • alfredo

        Para. 2: kettle pot black again. Some recent examples of German ‘humour’ I’ve seen in comments in other papers have been cringe-making in their lack of taste. And not from a single contributor either.
        There’s one buffoon, for example, who pretends he’s a sausage (which enables him to make references to penises – subtle, very) and clearly thinks this is a source of inexhaustible hilarity.

        • Solage 1386

          “Better a bratwurst than a Bowyers pork sausage”.
          (Old German folk-saying.)

  • Pacificweather

    “My own view is that parents almost invariably know better what’s good for their children than any outside agency does; and that however badly they may fuck them up, as Larkin would have it, their kids are still unlikely to end up anywhere near as screwed up as they would be if entrusted to the tender cares of the state.”

    Except parents in Rotherham and Oxfordshire it seems.

    • Damaris Tighe

      But the social workers were no better, & driven by ideology, which is James’s point.

      • Pacificweather

        Substitute ‘police’ for ‘social workers’ and ‘bone idle indifference’ for ‘ideology’ and we would be close to agreement. This was not merely lack of care for which the parents and social workers bear responsibility but crimes about which the police were aware but did nothing.

  • Nele Schindler

    For all the applauding I’m happy to do whenever you’re on James, ‘seething contempt for authority’ is nothing to be proud of. The world’s already full of idiots with a raging sense of entitlement in whose arrogant minds rules are something made for other people.

    Nothing cool, nothing godly either, about permanently looking down on those placed in authority over you. The world was a better place with Christian values in it – pray for your leaders, take the law seriously – now it’s just toxic sarcasm and cynicism wherever you look.

    • Phil T Tipp

      Your brand of authority can suck the shine off my c*ck and cup my balls as I re-arrange it’s toupée.

      • Nele Schindler

        It’s ‘its toupée’.

        If you need to be a vulgar little troglodyte (with – I surmise – a rather disappointing, frequently flaccid penis that wouldn’t necessarily provide the unfortunate sucker with all that much shine), please at least observe one of the most basic rules of English. Wrong apostrophisation is grating and takes the zing out of an otherwise punchy barb. Does it really take a Germany to tell you this?

        • Colin

          WTF is a “Germany”?

          • Nele Schindler

            A ‘Germany’ is a German person having taken it upon herself to venture abroad to teach the un-noble savage wholesome morality and proper grammar.

            We use ‘being a Germany’ as an image for taking the Fatherland’s ways (note proper apostrophisation on ‘Fatherland’) and becoming a tiny little unit of German-ness, i.e. ‘a Germany’, in a wilderness of bad manners and woeful punctuation.

            You haven’t thanked me yet, but I remain hopeful.

          • alfredo

            I would have thought that in view of the cynical and immoral way in which Germany is treating Greece at the moment, a little less talk from a German about ‘wholesome morality’ would be in order.

          • Jody Taylor

            You know zip about economics, obviously. Greece has had 70 years to complain about Reparations, yet it waits until it owes Germany money before doing anything about it. Yeah, right.

            Didn’t see that coming. NOT.

          • alfredo

            What has economics got to do with it? And what has 70 years to do with it? If Germany wasn’t doing its own Shylock act with Greece and punishing a whole people, it might not be timely to remind the Germans that they still have an outstanding debt to Greece from an enforced loan (i.e., robbery at gunpoint) during their brutal occupation of that country.
            And I think I can safely say that I know a great deal more about the ‘reparations’ issue than you do.

          • Nele Schindler

            I’m happy and relieved to see that Auschwitz has been replaced by Athens. Finally the world has moved along with our outrages – glory be!

          • alfredo

            First they came for the Jews
            Then they came for the Greeks, it seems …
            No change there, then.

          • Chagrin

            Rough translation “I is considerably more intelligent than yow.”

            Imagine being stuck next to this ghastly creature at a party.

          • Nele Schindler

            I actually am a rather popular party guest. Having a sense of humour in the face of vulgar outbursts and personal insults is a quality I always admired … sadly, we’ve entered an age of offence-taking that doesn’t always appreciate a lady’s wit!

            Being not dumb also helps when dishing out some verbal fun against the terminally stuck-up, to whom, I hope, you do not belong. 🙂

          • alfredo

            Your fellow-guests may just be humouring you, dear. If the shafts of your wit are as lumbering and laboured as this comment, they must be secretly wishing someone would take you away.

          • SeeEvil,hearEvil,speakEvil

            Yawn. Come back and lecture us when you’ve won a war.

          • Quite superb.

          • Colin


          • Solage 1386

            Krauts are often sour. They seldom laugh, and are far too loud when they do so. I lived with one. I know.

          • Frank Marker

            Too much sauerkraut in his diet perhaps? I’ll get my hat and coat then?

        • Phil T Tipp

          Damn you autocorrect. My stupendous monkey c*ck lost some of its shine. Nevermind, onwards! Panzers, Marsch!


      • Jody Taylor

        What a grotesque.

    • Robbydot1

      Good grief. You’re not English are you?

      • Vladimir_Svareff


    • James

      Christan values or just human nature – you decide.

      • Solage 1386

        Is it true that God never laughs? Jesus didn’t have much time for jokes or ‘aving a larf either, did he? Hence all these sour-faced Christians…..

    • Jody Taylor

      Couldn’t agree more with this. I’ve just returned from Scandinavia and I’m absolutely appalled at the behaviour of many of the children there. The parents run after them all the time, letting them go feral in public places and treating them like Little Emperors. One a ship crossing between Gotenborg and Frederikshaven 4 years ago the kids were running riot on the ship and then playing the poker machines downstairs – from age 7 – while their ‘yummy mummies and clueless dads looked on proudly”. I couldn’t stop throwing up, and it wasn’t the seasickness.

      I’d say Little Emperor Syndrome is the abiding trope of parenting in the modern age; out-sized prams, name and shame websites if you don’t breastfeed, give the right kind of dummies, baby-food – heaven forbid, never hit the Little Emporer or let it go to bed unhappy or unsettled.

      Meanwhile, the rest of the community has to grin and bear this blitzkrieg of narcissism.

    • alfredo

      ‘Pray for your leaders’. Of course. We must always pray for the unusually sinful and spectacularly deluded.

      • Jody Taylor

        And what do YOU do for your country, apart from sneering?

        • alfredo

          Criticise its politicians, of course. There could be no greater service than that.

        • William_Brown

          Whatever it is, I doubt it is anonymously, ‘Guest’.


    A named person? WTF is going on in Scotland? Twats.

    • Ed  

      Just like the old PQ in Quebec, the SNP is quite left-wing on most issues not having to do with independence. In neither place have I ever found nationalism and socialism to be that pleasant a mix.

      • Gerschwin

        Nationalism and socialism don’t mix, funny that.

        • LarryInIowa

          National Socialism?

        • Ed  

          Well, nationalism and socialism can mix sometimes. It’s just that when they do, the results can be, um, unfortunate.

        • karsten45

          you are a fool.

          • Scuse me, but I really don’t see what is foolish about pointing out some of the historical drawbacks of national socialism.

          • Gerschwin

            He’s a kraut.

          • In which case, he is in an excellent position to know all about the perils of national socialism.

          • Gerschwin

            Tough memories being a kraut eh?

    • AndrewMelville

      The scheme is as stupid as you.

    • richkychan09

      my friend’s step-aunt makes $86 hourly on the computer . She has been fired from work for five months but last month her check was $15770 just working on the computer for a few hours. you can check here jobshobby.com

      • Bonkim


        • Damaris Tighe

          Just flag it.

    • Brilliant comment. Especially the ‘twats’ at the end.

  • JeanClaudeCameron

    The more you elaborate about what I will describe as ‘social issues’, the more it is becoming evident that you are in fact slowly turning into a miserable post-war quasi-German, Del Boy. Seething contempt for authority, hey? Good to see you feel you’re on top of that process.

    • alfredo

      He can’t be both a quasi-German and have a contempt for authority. Germans love authority – particularly when they fancy it’s their own.

      • Jody Taylor

        It appears you know bugger all about Germans and Germany. Kapoot.

  • black11hawk

    The man in the photo bears a remarkable resemblance to Mr Salmond.

    • alfredo

      I was thinking Leon Brittan …

  • Angela Wood

    I read the Spectator columnists like James, Rod and Hugo etc because I have a good, very British, sense of humour. What mystifies me is that they are read by so many people with absolutely none. My word people, you must be unbelievably dreary to live with.

    • Ed  

      Labour voters.

      • CharleyFarleyFive

        Yes, invariably.

    • Vladimir_Svareff

      There are a lot of humourless punters who come in here to whine endlessly. it’s an English trait. Least the Irish put their money where their mouth is when it comes to getting it on. The tweedy English on the other hand love their agony club. Why do you think there is the stereotype of the Englishman being flagellated by a large woman in fishnets and a leather corset? It’s an integral part of their psychology. There a lot of closet masochists in here Angela who would probably enjoy your comment even more if it came with the crack of a whip.

      • Gerschwin


      • Solage 1386

        If you asked an Irishman to put his money where his mouth is, he’d shove his Euros up his ah-soul.

    • James

      I thought it was racist to smile or have a good s.o.h.

      • Solage 1386

        There was an old man from Nantucket,
        Who’s c–k was so long he could s–k it.
        He said, with a grin,
        As he wiped sp–k from his chin,
        “If my nose was a c–t I would f–k it”.

        (This beautiful poem is very popular amongst knee-grows.)

    • Howe Synnott

      Angela – hear, hear regarding the delightful clutch of columnists contributing to The Spectator.
      Alas, I fear you are correct in identifying an increasingly common affliction of the Intelligentsia – Humour Deficiency Disorder; it is often associated with another debilitating condition – Moral Superiority Syndrome.

      • Solage 1386

        If somebody tells them a “joke” they will organise a committee to debate whether it is permissible to” laugh”, or not to “laugh”, after examining the “joke” for its political, sociological and ideological ramifications. What a bunch of humourless krazy kunts. Ha ha ha!

    • Solage 1386

      Agreed. The sour-faced fokkers should be put down like poor Daisy, so as to end their misery. It would be a kindness to do so, both for them and–more importantly–for us.

    • William_Brown

      Indeed. They know how to do everything with state approved complicity, but simply cannot laugh at themselves, or anything else, which might not be amusing ‘by imperial decree’.

  • Sean L

    ‘Seething contempt for authority’? Isn’t that what revolutionary socialists advocate? Aren’t you talking about petty officialdom rather than authority as such? And what is ‘raising’ them other than asserting *your* authority? I can’t imagine you’d want them expelled from school or locked up. Fox hunting is itself a model of order and authority, two sides of the same coin. It’s the saboteurs who seethe with contempt for authority. What you’re concerned with is really more to do with *legitimacy* than authority. But you’d imagine they’ll acquire the distinction by example. You’d be hoping so anyway. . .

  • misomiso


  • Feminister

    “For socialism see also fascism, communism, Islamism: it is in the nature of all totalitarian doctrines to want to detach children from their unhealthy familial bonds and indoctrinate them in the ways of communitarian righteousness.”

    See also patriarchal Sunday Schools, boarding schools, cadet schools, parliamentary feeder schools, schools.

    • Pioneer1

      “See also patriarchal Sunday Schools, boarding schools, cadet schools, parliamentary feeder schools, schools”.


      That is where you learn to stick two fingers up to authority.

      • Pacificweather

        The trouble is that sticking up two fingers is as far as we got.

    • Solage 1386

      The Jesuits too. “Give us a child when he is five……”

  • Feminister

    I take my little monsters around our estate. We get dolled up, chase cats and set them on fire.

    • Jody Taylor

      And it really IS all about you, isn’t it?

      • Feminister

        What!? I’m just encouraging English traditional sport.

        • Jody Taylor

          As I said…..read my earlier post.

          • Feminister

            Okay okay your turn. What’s YOUR preferred sadistic method of tangentially sticking it to the man?

  • Temporary ID

    When will Scotland get its first Pavlik?


  • karsten45

    Just yep!

  • Perseus Slade

    The family is a community
    with its own internal loyalties.

    Not surprising that this is seen as a threat
    by the authorities in authoritarian states.

    All your children are belong to us

  • ErictheHorse

    Odd mind James with your irreverent wit so bountiful that you get touchy when someone mentions you taking a fall, while you are in pursuit of pleasure garnered from inflicting fear and suffering on a sentient creature you are chasing down with dogs!

    Why do you get all upset when someone else would find some amusement in your breaking your back under said conditions?

    Something only funny when you say they are. Break a back James, and let me have a laugh.